Top 10 Young Defenders 2014/15: Kurzawa, Chambers & more | Talent Radar Player Rankings Issue No.3


#TalentRadar Top 10 Young Defenders // As part of our Talent Radar feature, we will regularly publish Player Rankings of Young Players divided across the four primary positions (goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders & forwards) and focusing on the 6 big leagues of Europe (Bundesliga, La Liga, Premier League, Serie A, Ligue 1 & Eredivisie). 

Some FAQs worth reading just to clarify any doubts about this.

What is Talent Radar? Read this for complete details on the feature.

What is the eligibility criteria? Players that were aged 21 years and below on June 1st 2014, are eligible for Talent Radar.

How often will these be published? The rankings for each position will be published once in three weeks, so one week we’ll have the rankings for Goalkeepers/Defenders go up, the next week will be Midfielders, the the Forwards the following week and back to the Goalkeepers/Defenders the week after and so on. Our Talent Radar Team of the Week will of course be published every week so you have some content to read on a weekly basis.

On what basis are these rankings made? These rankings are purely based on our opinion of the players and their performances. Our opinions are based on various factors; if you do have a question/criticism/feedback about the inclusion/exclusion of a player, then do leave a comment below.

What’s the point of all this? Good question. Well for one thing, it’s fun (isn’t it?). Secondly, we always track the progress and performances of youngsters under our Talent Radar feature. Those who are featured here and in our weekly, monthly pieces, will also be recognised in our end of season Talent Radar Young Player Awards and ofcourse will also influence our hugely popular 100 Best Young Players to Watch list (at the end of the calendar year).


The third issue of our Talent Radar Player Rankings takes into considerations three rounds of domestic league action and the opening round of the Champions League games. We haven’t taken into consideration the Europa League, nor the Capital One Cup, to maintain consistency.

More Talent Radar Player Rankings →  // Goalkeepers // Midfielders  // Forwards

Talent Radar Best Yougn Defenders 3

Although having made only one appearance in our Talent Radar Team of the Week (for his performance against Nantes that included an assist for Falcao which we have so far termed as the most perfect cross seen this season), Layvin Kurzawa’s consistency has won us over and last season’s left-back in the Ligue 1 Talent Radar Team of the Season leads the way in the Defender rankings in the third issue, having climbed from 3rd spot.

The striking feature of Kurzawa since the previous issue is his improvement on the defensive side of the game after some have claimed his attacking play being his only strong point. The man who turned 22 earlier this month is certainly thus showing signs of maturity, including a top performance on his Champions League debut vs Leverkusen in a 1-0 win. His most recent game for Monaco also finished with the same scoreline as a stoppage time winner was scored by Valere Germain with Kurzawa himself setting up that goal after a run down the left-channel. His next two games in the league before the next Talent Radar Player Ranking issue are interesting, as Monaco first take on Nice in the derby before facing defending champions PSG.

Behind him in 2nd spot is Marquinhos who retains his position as the runner-up in the Talent Radar Young Defenders’ rankings continuing his solid showing for PSG in the absence of his captain & countrymen, Thiago Silva. He has been a little guilty of inconsistency, but he certainly warrants himself a place towards the top in this list. Although PSG have had a rather poor start to the season by their standards, their mid-week game saw them earn a 2-0 win away to Caen with Marquinhos scoring one of those goals, heading home from a corner. Besides facing Monaco before the next issue, Marquinhos will also go up against the mighty Barcelona, a club that has for so long admired the Brazilian.

Rising one spot and into 3rd place is Arsenal young gun, Calum Chambers. The Englishman started the season at centre-back in the absence of Per Mertesacker. But recent injury developments which have become customary at the club has led to Chambers being deployed in his favourable right-back role, where he has experience playing for Southampton. His last Premier League game in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Aston Villa also earned him a spot in our latest Talent Radar Team of the Week. If there ever was a time for Chambers to further impress us and stake a claim at top spot in the Talent Radar Top 10 Young Defenders’ rankings, then it would be now. The Englishman might have an important role to play in two massive London derbies, first against Spurs and then at Chelsea.

Earlier this week we had a Scout Report go up on Tin Jedvaj, and why wouldn’t we! The young Croat has been impressing viewers in the Bundesliga, seemingly flourishing under new boss Roger Schmidt, also rising to 4th place in the defender rankings, a climb from 7th spot. He’s again been among the goals, scoring against Bremen in a thrilling 3-3 draw, but notably against Augsburg, he was played in what is actually his primary position, centre-back, and did a decent job of it.

A new entrant comes in at #5, and though a rather big rise, Ricardo Rodriguez’ place was most definitely warranted. The Swiss international who was named Talent Radar Defender of the Season in our inaugural Talent Radar Young Player Awards (2013-14), has again been making waves at Wolfsburg. One of his recent performances included an absolutely sensational volley against Bayer Leverkusen, while also scoring from a free-kick at Goodison Park in the Europa League (though as mentioned, that competition hasn’t been considered here by us).

6th & 7th spot is occupied by two players falling from their previous position; Eric Dier drops off from top spot after a superb start to the season while his fellow Premier League youngster, Javier Manquillo, has also seen a bit of a dip in form with Liverpool struggling (though he has been one of the better performers in the side).

Like Manquillo, the next two positions are also occupied by Spaniards with Valencia’s Jose Gaya coming in at 8th followed by the man whose position he took at the club, Juan Bernat. Both certainly are staking a claim towards the Spanish left-back position for the future, and who knows, might just be met by Manquillo in the squad.

Feyenoord’s Sven van Beek rounds up the 3rd Talent Radar Top 10 Young Defenders issue. More changes certainly expected before we release the 4th installment. Andrew Robertson, Mike van der Hoorn, Joshua Brenet and Aymeric Laporte are the unfortunate bunch who have been ‘relegated’ after appearing the previous time.

# PLAYER AGE CLUB NATIONALITY
1 Layvin Kurzawa 22 Monaco France
2 Marquinhos 20 PSG Brazil
3 Calum Chambers 19 Arsenal England
4 Tin Jedvaj 18 Leverkusen Croatia
5 Ricardo Rodriguez 22 Wolfsburg Switzerland
6 Eric Dier 20 Spurs England
7 Javier Manquillo 20 Liverpool Spain
8 Jose Gaya 19 Valencia Spain
9 Juan Bernat 21 Bayern Munich Spain
10 Sven van Beek 20 Feyenoord Netherlands

Written by Sami Faizullah. Chief Editor of this website.


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Sami Faizullah

Sami Faizullah

Co-founder and Chief Editor here. Obsessed with tactics. Keen follower of young players. Creator of #TalentRadar. Appeared in A Football Report's list of "Best in Football Writing 2012".
Sami Faizullah